Friday, February 02, 2007

Finally some common sense on broadband -- courtesy of Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry

Finally, a public policymaker displays some practical common sense and fairness when it comes to filling in America’s many broadband black holes: allow broadband providers to charge customers in areas that cost more to serve higher rates for service.

In addition to ending a federal requirement that high-speed Internet rates be equal regardless of population density, Nebraska Republican Congressman Lee Terry’s draft bill would also require the Universal Service Fund, created to subsidize voice telephone service in higher cost areas, be updated to include broadband, according to this ars technica report.

Terry, a member of the Congressional Rural Caucus, is on the right track policy-wise. Broadband Internet access should be universal and allowing USF funding to help make it so is sound policy. It’s also equitable to allow higher costs to deploy wire line-based broadband to be recovered in the form of higher prices.

Achieving universal broadband access is a high cost proposition and will require multiple funding sources. Terry’s bill strikes a reasonable middle ground that’s vitally needed in finding a way to make broadband universally accessible. Otherwise, everyone living outside of densely populated urban areas will remain stuck in the early 1990s with cheap but impractical dial up Internet access or the costly and undesirable option of satellite, which is best left to television programming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too bad it has to go through congress first, that's going to take forever. Still it wouldn't Mean that companies would bring broadband to rural areas, but it would be a great start. If they were able to charge higher prices for service then they could make a profit faster on areas that they normally wouldn't even consider. I wouldn't mind paying for high speed if it cost me 40 bucks a month. As long as the lag is low.



hope it passes.

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